'To say I'm rattled is an understatement': Tent causes Niagara family to be kicked off beach

(Courtney Jackson/Facebook)

A mother is speaking out after she claims her children were kicked off a public beach ⁠— for using a small tent for shade.

But her outrage elicited little sympathy from others on social media.

Courtney Jackson, from the Niagara region, wrote a lengthy post on Facebook after her experience with Niagara Region Police left her “rattled”.

The owner of Claws Nail & Beauty Bar in St. Catharines wrote in the post that she went to Crystal Beach on Monday, Aug 5. with her young children to spend time outdoors during the long weekend.

She told the Niagara Falls Review that when her group arrived at the beach, she encountered rules she wasn’t expecting such as an admission fee and a bag search for alcohol.

“I couldn’t even tell you the list of rules you had to be aware of in advance to be able to be welcomed onto this public beach,” she said on Facebook, noting she has spent “many years” at Crystal Beach in the past.

After arriving at a busy beach, she set up a small half-moon tent to provide shade for her children for when they need a break from the sun. Jackson says a “random man” came up to her to tell her that her tent isn’t allowed on the beach.

A half-hour later, she placed her two-year old in the tent to give them some shade. The man came up to them again about an hour later, to remind them again that tents are not allowed.

“Looking in shock and confusion- my first thought was excuse me, who the hell are you?”, says Jackson. She says she told him she wouldn’t take it down.

Not long after, the man and Niagara Region Police officers arrived at the scene, and told her to leave the beach.

“Our children were starring in shock and fear because they didn’t know why police officers were making their family leave,” she says.

Jackson say she doesn’t understand why enforcing a by-law is more important than letting her children enjoy the beach.

The business-owner said her main qualm comes from police not being around when “aggressive homeless and drug addicts” are in the neighbourhood of her salon, and nothing is done.

“I know for a FACT that there are more important things our Sergeant and fellow police officers should be doing,” she said. “Leave beach families alone!!”

Jackson’s post has been shared more than a thousand times since it was posted this week.

However, some of the responses to her story have been less than sympathetic.

“Rules are rules,” one Facebook user wrote. “When you were told the first time you should oblige, not act like [you’re] above the law.”

“Maybe follow the rules, what makes you or your kids more special than other families in the heat,” wrote another.

“Imagine if everybody had a f***ing tent on the beach it wouldn’t fit half the people, get over it.”